This is for all of those cruisers who would like to know about the GTS Millennium. We have just returned from the New Years Cruise. First we have been on quite a few cruises, cross Atlantic, three times Caribbean West and East. We think that the Millennium is the BEST SHIP BY FAR that we have been on, for a lot of reasons. Here comes the good news and the bad news.
First, the ship was really built for cruising. I have seen a lot of cruise ships that just donít get it right. Many ships have lots of cabins but few balconies. The Millennium has lots of balconies and what a difference that makes. The general layout of the ship makes it very easy to get from one part of the ship to another. There are many elevators and they are quite large. There was hardly a problem getting one, except during embarkation, but that is another subject.
Second, the service is so exceptional we could not believe it. From the cabin attendant to the wait staff in the dining room, the service was four stars all the time. This was the first cruise that one did not have to dine in the specialty restaurant to get good food and great service. I would like to point out that the specialty restaurant the Olympia, was way beyond anything I have ever seen on any other cruise ship. The quality of the food was suburb, every time, breakfast lunch and dinner. The bar service was wonderful and the size of the drinks very good. The service in the Casino was suburb, and the gambling seemed very fair and lots of fun. The ship was very clean and the crew kept it that was all the time.
Third the ports of call were very good and well organized.
The boarding process was very well organized and a treat to go through. As a side line, we were in Florida for a week prior to the cruise and rented a car at the Ft. Lauderdale airport and when we returned it, the car rental companies have bus shuttles that take on to the various ships, it was painless and pleasant.
Now the bad news, We called them the night children. We were in the second dinner seating that meant that it was well after ten in the evening that we got started on the night time fun. Weather that was dancing or going to the casino, sometimes we would return to our cabin some where between 12 am and 2 :30 am. It did not matter the stairwells and open public spaces were filled with children between the ages of 13 and 16 some younger some older. Many were drunk and in various stages of undress and making out or in two cases much worse. These unruly kids would run down the corridors taking room service orders off the doors and putting them on other doors. This is what happened to a couple we were traveling with, there arrived at their cabin door one afternoon a pizza and some beer, they thought it was something sent by the cruise line, but no some one had switched the room service order from one door to another. On one occasion there was this young man I would say about 14 or 15 staggering down the hall way far to drunk to walk, he just stopped and threw up all over the place, while mommy and daddy slept or were off doing other activities. There were over 650 children on this cruise and many were out of control running all through the cruise ship all night. We do not place any of he blame on the cruise line for this although, it did take some getting use to having a 13 or 14-year-old girl playing the slots next to us.
Disembarkation from the ship was very easy, but once you got to the taxi area to try to catch a taxi to the airport, look out it is every man woman and child for them selves. Fights broke out people were swearing at each other it was at best a mad house. The airport was no better. It is fair to say that the cruise line industry has far out grown the capabilities and capacities of the Ft. Lauderdale airport. Again this has nothing to do with the cruise line. It is just a warning to a fellow cruiser. The best bet in the winter is to get down there a day before your cruise and stay at a hotel . This is what out friends did and they had an easy time of it.
The medical facilities on the Millennium are by cruising standards very good, our friend had bronchitisís and they put him on a drip and gave him antibiotics and further treatment, it was not cheep over $1000.00 but I think that it will be covered by insurance. They did have to airlift a passenger off the ship one morning because of a heart attack. I was very impressed with the way it was handled.
Summery: Great food, great service, clean cabins good cruise. Bad news. kids out of control, but that could be because it was New Years.
Thanks Michael. Kids and Christmas cruising is one reason I will never try a cruise at that time of year! You are so right, "Where are the parents?" I am surprised Celebrity security did not try to put a squash to that type of behavior. A 14yr. old at a slot machine!
Can you tell me if the Millennium still has the mini-golf course? It did have it about deck 11 when she first set sail but it may have been removed. What taxi's and tours (private) did you happen to see or hear were available at LaRomana, Dominican Republic? Looking for things to do there with 3 kids.
We were also on the Millennium for new years, and we agree with most of your observations. The cruise all in all, was good.
We had Sky Suite 6117 (Penthouse Deck 6) and were disappointed that our 'private balcony', was not 'private'. I had done some research to insure that our suite would be fairly free from roving eyes ... but I missed one unforeseen item. The Ocean Grill (buffet dining room - Deck 10)) extends over the side of the ship ... and has glass 'portholes' in the floor ... while your dining, you can watch the people on the balconies below ... a big disappointment for us. Suites have Butlers, and ours seemed to always be in a bad mood. All he did for us was deliver fresh fruit each morning, fill an extra ice bucket in the evening, delivered one breakfast, brought hors d'oeuvre's (4 of the 7 evenings ... wonder what happened to the other 2 or 3) ... and for this we were expected to give him a $3.30 per person, per day, gratuity ... I don't think so. This is the first cruise line that expected you to tip the Asst. Maitre D' and Chief Housekeeper ... once again, I don't think so. All our Maitre D' did was come around and say "Hello" each evening .... and we haven't a clue as to what service the Chief Housekeeper provided us. On a very positive note, our Stateroom Attendant and our Dining Room Waiter were exceptionally fantastic. We sat at table 424B (table for 6) and had Violetta as our Waitress, and she was FANTASTIC! Our Stateroom Attendant seemed to magically appear while we were out of our Suite, no matter what time of day it was; excellent job.
We had a couple of errors on our shipboard account, and it took several trips to Guest Relations to get it corrected (as has happened on other cruise lines). So a word of advice is to review your account 2 days before the end of the cruise, to be sure everything is correct; it gives you time, in case it isn't.
We cruise on an average of 4 times a year. I had cruised Celebrity on Century's Inaugural year ... and it was the best. We came back to Celebrity for New Years, and quite frankly didn't think it was worth the extra money. But all in all, it was a good New Years cruise, we just had greater expectations for a premium cruise line. We have watched the cruise industry change dramatically over the decades, and it seems to be the trend to have an ever inflating charge for things (soda, bottled water, specialty restaurant cover charges, some ship activities, etc.) ... but that's true with many things.
We also witnessed the Coast Guard helicopter extraction of 3 people the morning we heading for the Dominican Republic .... it was a sight to see, those guys did a marvelous job of doing an air extraction from a moving ship!!!!
As for "the night children" ... you hit the nail right on the head!!! Also, there were MANY inconsiderate parents with screaming babies.
Would we recommend Celebrity to others ... yes, it was a good cruise. Would we cruise Celebrity again ... probably not ... there are other quality cruise lines, for less money. We were actually supposed to be on the SS Norway for this New Years cruise ... but we all know what happened there. We hope the Norway, last of the great liners, is repaired and back on the seas this year.
Thank you, John & Carole for the great reply.
Of all the cruises we have been on, strange that you had booked one on the SS Norway for New Years. We did the New Years cruise on the SS Norway in the 1998-1999 cruise and was it great!!! And the price was right I think about $800.00 per person, I was talked in to that cruise because, I told my wife that I had crosses the Atlantic on the Queen Elisabeth in 1953, and returned on the SS France. Well for years she wanted to experience the grandeur of the older ships. I have to tell you
John, that of all the modern cruises we have been on the SS Norway ,was by far the best, for food, service and just comfort.
Our cabin was immense and the deck / balcony was very large with two couches and four chairs and a large round table. We had so much fun on that cruise. We through a cocktail party every night out on our deck, I hope that they do bring her back, but with the deep hull she could not dock in St. Thomas, most of the shore trips were by tender.
Another draw back to the SS Norway was that the elevators were very small and could not take a lot of people, we didnít care as we almost all of the time we walked the stare ways, as we did on the Millennium. We were on the 9th deck on the Millennium, Some times it was a long haul from deck 1, but it was good exercise.
Too bad about your penthouse, I did see that they were not too private but the view looking back was really great. I agree about the tipping, on other cruises we have opted not to use their tipping policy and just take care of it our selves. We will never do another New Years Cruise. In fact a couple of years ago we had some friends, the same ones we were with this New years cruise and also on the SS Norway, took a NCL SUN New Years Cruise and we went one week later for half the price. Oh Well live and learn.
We did a Uniworld cruise in May of 03. That is a cruise through the Dutch countryside on canals in the spring, tulip time. It was not worth it. If you want any info on that cruise I would be glad to enlighten you.
What do you think is a good cruise line?( For the money)
As for the parents with the screaming kids, you could not get near the hot tubs on ten deck all day, it might just have been the cruise and the time of year. John & Carole, I hope that your next cruise will be lots of fun.
We got back to Milwaukee in a big snowstorm; one-day sun the next shoveling snow, but the Packers did win so it was not all bad news.
Micheal and John, was your itinerary eastern or western Carribean? We're booked for eastern and I was wondering which nights were formal and whether there was an open seating night. We'd like to make reservations at the Olympic but don't want to miss either of the formal nights in the regular dining room. If there's an open seating night (I read someone's review from 2002 that said this was true on the Casa Di Campo day) then I'd like too dine in the Olympic then so we wouldn't miss out on our regular table mates either.
To answer a few previous questions:
Our itinerary was Ft. Lauderdale, Dominican Republic, San Juan, St. Thomas, Nassau, & Ft. Lauderdale. We had 3 Formal nights; there may have been an extra 'Formal night' due to New Years (because we only expected 2). In addition, there were 2 'Informal' nights (jacket & tie), and 2 casual nights. The Millennium has fixed seating - 6:oopm for Main & 8:30pm for Late. You can dine any time in the Ocean Grill (buffet). The people at our table were great, and we looked forward to our evening conversations. Breakfast and Lunch were open seating.
As far as balcony privacy, I have attached a picture that I created with Deck 9 & 10 overlaid. The magenta circles in the Ocean Grill represent the glass portholes in the floor. To check the exposure of our balcony, we placed our balcony deck chairs against our balcony door (cabin 6117 - Deck 6); then went up to the Ocean Grill floor portholes and could see 85% of our chairs. Had we been sitting in the chairs, the only our shoulders and head would not be visible. So, the exposure would even be greater on decks 7, 8, & 9. I would guess Deck 9 staterooms 9128-9183 (Port side) & 9110-9148 (starboard side) would be the ones with the most expose.
John, you mentioned that the Ocean Buffet was open at all times for dining. When we sailed Mille, you had to make reservations for the evening alternative dining times. Seating was limited to a very low number of people too. Has this changed? One reason I liked Princess and Carnival ships was the availablity of free dining alternative at the buffet. Sometimes you don't feel like getting dressed up or miss your assigned dining hour! I fell asleep and didn't wake up until later!
I knew about the "peep" holes in the buffet floor but never realized that there were so many on them. Just looking down made me dizzy. At least our next cabin will not be affected.